Coronavirus Overview, Symptoms, Diagnoses, Treatment, Prevention

By Charlie ParsonsMar 28, 2021641

Coronavirus Overview, Symptoms, Diagnoses, Treatment, Prevention

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a deadly infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can trigger a respiratory tract infection. This virus mainly affects the upper respiratory tract. This virus too spreads in a similar fashion as other coronaviruses do, mainly through human-to-human contact. SARS-CoV-2 is one of seven kinds of coronavirus, including the one that caused Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) as well as a sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). 

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 virus is a still new microbe for doctors and scientists; therefore, they study this virus each day to understand viral replication, transmission, and other characteristics. This infection causes some similar infections like flu, but they are very intense, and if not treated; they can become deadly. You can carry the COVID-19 virus for two days or up to two weeks before you develop symptoms.

Some common symptoms linked to the COVID-19 infection include:

  • shortness of breath
  • a cough that gets more severe over time
  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue

Other symptoms include:

  • repeated shaking with chills
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches and pains
  • loss of taste or smell
  • a stuffy or runny nose
  • gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • discoloration of fingers or toes
  • pink eye
  • rash

Mild cases of COVID-19 still show a long-lasting impact on your health. People who experience symptoms months after first catching the virus and do not show traceable virus in their body are termed as long haulers.

Diagnosis of COVID-19

As of now, in most states and countries COVID-19 testing facilities are available. Some may require booking an appointment; others are simply a drive-up testing facility.

A swab test technique is used for tracing the viral particles in the upper respiratory tract. The healthcare professional puts a sterile swab up your nose to get a mucous lining sample from the back of your nose and throat. That swab sample is taken to a lab for a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, which detects viral genetic material. This test takes 24 hours to get results but has higher accuracy. Besides, rapid antigen tests are also available that provide results within 15 minutes but lack efficacy. If there are traces of the virus in the sample, the test is positive. A negative test could mean there is no virus or there was not ample virus particle in the sample to detect. The test can still come negative in an early infection stage. 

The FDA is now aiming to allow authorization to home test kits that may include home nasal swabs, which you can collect yourself. They can express ship their sample back to the lab for examination. FDA also provided emergency approval for several at-home rapid tests. However, you might need a prescription to purchase such COVID-19 test kits.

A swab test can alert you whether you have virus particles in your body, but you may also take an antibody test, which shows you whether you get exposed to the virus or not before getting the symptoms. The antibody test helps researchers to study the population that has built immunity against COVID-19. The FDA is working with laboratories across the globe to develop more testing methods.

Treatment of COVID-19

Medications

Currently, there is no specific cure for COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Thousands of medicines, as well as vaccines, are currently under study to fight back COVID-19. On October 22, 2020, FDA approved remdesivir (Veklury) drug for the treatment of COVID-19. It is a prescription-based drug that helps to treat individuals aged 12 years and older who are hospitalized. It is an intravenous drug that is known to reduce the time of hospitalization. It does not help to reduce the mortality rate. Tocilizumab is another medication, which is usually used to treat autoimmune conditions but has received emergency approval for COVID-19 treatment.

Plasma therapy

Convalescent plasma therapy is a method to recover plasma from Covid-19 patients. The plasma therapy has shown limited effect in decreasing the progression to severe COVID-19 infection or death in according to the trial conducted in India. Plasma therapy, however, showed a reduction in the COVID-19 symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, after seven days as per the researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); and the National Institute of Epidemiology, India, Tamil Nadu.

Prevention of COVID-19

The best way to prevent the deadly COVID-19 virus is to limit human contact as much as possible. It is one of the essential steps to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19. Avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or any respiratory tract infection. Another most important tip is to practice good hygiene and to practice physical distancing to prevent COVID-19 disease.

Here are some essential tips for the prevention of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with lukewarm water and enough soap. You can sing your “ABCs” while washing hands to track those 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth when your hands are dirty and while you are traveling out.
  • Make sure to frequently sanitize your hands with 60 %to 70% of alcohol when you go outdoors.
  • Avoid going outdoors if you’re feeling sick or if you are dealing with any flu-like symptoms.
  • Follow social distancing; maintain 6 feet (2 meters) distance from people. Remember to avoid crowds to protect yourself.
  • While going out in public areas, use a clean face mask. Cover your nose and mouth correctly.
  • Always clean the objects or commonplace that you frequently touch or use at your home or at your work to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use disinfectants on your phones, computers, and doorknobs. Clean and wash your utensils and dishware with warm water and soap.

COVID-19 Vaccine

In 2021, the vaccination drive has started across the globe in different countries, including the USA. Vaccination plays an essential role in the prevention of the COVID-19 virus. It helps to build your immunity and reduces the mortality rate. The vaccine works to generate antibodies to kill the COVID-19 virus. Make sure you take your jab when possible. Until then, stay safe and follow precautions.